The 2022 Major League Baseball, and 2022 Minor League Baseball seasonsare underway, with plenty of Australian players flexing their talents for their respective organisations.
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Liam Spence - Myrtle Beach Pelicans
In his first Minor League season since being drafted by the Chicago Cubs last year, Liam Spence has appeared in seven games for the organisation's Low A affiliate, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, getting a few hits along the way.
In his first game, Spence was part of the starting lineup on April 9 in a 7-2 loss against the Charleston RiverDogs at Joseph P Riley Jr Ballpark. He had one at-bat which resulted in a single to right field, but didn't come home, and had his day ended early when he was ejected by the first base umpire in the fourth inning for arguing with a balk call.
Spence returned for the April 10 game which saw a 7-6 Pelicans win, and went zero for three with a walk in the ninth inning, but first was hit by a Sandy Gaston pitch in the third inning, eventually scoring on a James Triantos sacrifice fly.
The Mrytle Beach Pelicans travelled back home TicketReturn.com Field to host a series against the Augusta GreenJackets and on April 13, lost 1-0, with Spence going one for three, hitting a two-out single to centrefield in the fifth inning.
On April 14, in a 3-2 win, Spence went one for three when he hit a two-out double to left field that scored two runs, Ezequiel Pagan and Yeison Santana. On April 15, in a 9-2 loss, Spence went zero for three with a base on balls.
On April 16, Spence went zero for four in a 5-4 loss, striking out three times, before recording the same zero for four line on April 17 in the Pelicans' 6-3 win, striking out twice.
Rixon Wingrove - Clearwater Threshers
New South Welshman Rixon Wingrove has appeared in six games for the Philadelphia Phillies Low A side, the Clearwater Threshers, beginning on April 9 at home at BayCare Ballpark in a 4-2 loss against the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. The first baseman had four at-bats in the game, striking out on two occasions, and popping out to fielders in the other two instances.
On April 10, the Threshers went down 6-3 to the Mighty Mussesls, in a game where Wingrove picked up his first hit of the season, going one for four. The designated hitter for this game, he hit a lead-off single to start the bottom of the second inning, however, Felix Reyes grounded into a double play, with Wingrove forced out while running to second base.
The Threshers were at home against the St Lucie Mets, however, lost 9-3 on April 13 where Wingrove went one for three with a hit and two walks. His first plate appearance saw him ground into an first inning-ending double play, before drawing a walk in the fourth and fifth, unable to advance either time. He struck out swinging in the eighth but made contact in the ninth for a single into centrefield, though, again, didn't advance as the ballgame wrapped up.
In the April 14 fixture, the Threshers went down 4-3 to the Mets, with Wingrove going zero for four, striking out three times. It was a similar story in the April 15 6-5 win, going zero for four, striking out each time, and on April 16's 5-4 loss, Wingrove again went zero for four.
Jarryd Dale - Fort Wayne TinCaps
Victorian Jarryd Dale has appeared in all nine games of the season so far for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the High A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, and has recorded a couple of home runs on his way to a successful start to the season.
In the season opener on April 8, the side went down 6-5 to the Dayton Dragons at Day Air Ballpark, with Dale going zero for five, striking out four times. Jack
On an April 10 doubleheader, the TinCaps took the first game 13-2, with Dale going one for three with two runs. In the third inning, he sent a two-run shot over the fence in left field, scoring Justin Lopez also and scored again when he got on base via a walk, and advanced to third, coming home on a Anthony Vilar sacrifice fly.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the TinCaps went down 5-1 with Dale going one for two at the plate, with a run and a walk. Leading off at the top of the second, he hit a double into right field, and scored from third on a wild pitch, and earned a walk in the sixth inning but didn't advance past third.
Returning to Parkview Field for its first home series of the season, the Fort Wayne TinCaps met the South Bend Cubs, and on April 12, celebrated a 5-3 victory, however, Dale went zero for three with a walk.
On April 14, another doubleheader saw the TinCaps lose the first game 7-2 with Dale going one for three, with a two-run home run over the right field fence that scored Brandon Valenzuela too.
The second game of the day saw the TinCaps win 6-2, with Dale finishing two for three, first hitting a triple in the first inning that scored Robert Hassel III. Dale then hit a double in the third inning which scored Joshua Mears, but couldn't score at either point himself.
The TinCaps lost 4-2 on April 15 where Dale went zero for four and on April 16, in a 6-0 win, Dale went zero for two with three walks. His first base on balls was in the first inning and it scored Robert Hassel III, stealing second base after his second walk in the third inning, and again in the sixth inning.
In the final game of the series, and of the week, Dale went zero for two in the 4-3 victory with another two walks. HIs first walk, leading off the second inning saw him caught trying to steal second while his second walk, in the eighth inning saw the bases loaded before a Justin Lopez grand slam saw Dale score.
Jack O'Loughlin - West Michigan Whitecaps
South Australian pitcher Jack O'Loughlin saw game time in two fixtures for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Detroit Tigers' High A affiliate over the last week and a half.
O'Loughlan came in as a relief pitcher in the April 9 game against Great Lakes Loons at Dow Diamond in what was an eventual 5-4 loss, pitching two innings and giving up one hit, three runs, with three walks and three strikeouts.
The lefty entered the game at the bottom of the fourth inning to replace Dylan Smith and walked the first two batters before finding the required three outs, but not before giving up a run. In the bottom of the fifth, he started with a strikeout but walked another batter and gave up a two-run home run before getting out of the inning with a groundout and strikeout.
O'Loughlan's next appearance was on April 16 in a 6-0 win against the Lansing Lugnuts at LMCU Ballpark, this time getting the starting duties on the mound and lasting four innings, giving up two hits and zero runs with four strikeouts.
The starter retired all three batters in succession at the top of the first inning and despite seeing the bases loaded in the second inning, got out of the jam. The top of the third inning was similar to the start of the game with a three-up, three-down dig, and he gave up a double in the fourth inning around groundouts and a flyout.
Mitch Ellis - Quad Cities River Bandits
Victorian Mitch Ellis has appeared in two games for the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Kansas City Royals' High A affiliate, pitching a total of three innings.
In an 8-1 loss to the Cedar Rapids Kernels on April 12, Ellis entered the game to replace Harrison Beethe during the top of the sixth inning, tasked with getting out of an inning that had yielded three walks, three wild pitches, and two runs so far. While it took four pitches to get Kennie Taylor to ground out into a double play, Ellis walked the next batter, but struck out the next batter up to retire the side.
In the top of the sixth, Ellis started with a strikeout, before giving up a base on balls, but came back to send the next two batters to the dugout. He was replaced by Yohanse Morel at the top of the eighth.
On April 17, Ellis returned for the River Bandits, pitching one inning to close out the game in the ninth inning of a game that ended with a 6-2 loss, replacing Patrick Smith.
While Ellis gave up a lead-off double, he struck out the next batter, before walking and giving up back-to-back singles to the following three hitters to come to the plate, and hitting the next player up with a pitched ball. It meant the Kernels had plated two runs, but Ellis came back with two strikeouts to end the inning.
Aaron Whitefield - Rocket City Trash Pandas
Queenslander Aaron Whitefield has made nine appearances for the Rocket City Trash Pandas, the Los Angeles Angels' Double A affiliate, so far this season, recording at least one hit in eight games, as well as showcasing his ability to hit a long ball over the fence.
First suiting up for the side on April 8 in an 8-2 away win against the Birmingham Barons at Regions Field, Whitefield was the lead-off batter and singled on a line drive to left field with the first pitch of the game. He stole second base but remained stuck there as the Barons got the last two outs of the top half of the first inning.
Whitefield had a walk in the fifth inning, and stole second base again, but a Livan Soto strikeout ended the innings soon after. At the top of the seventh inning, Whitefield recorded a sacrifice fly to left field, which was able to score Kevin Maitan and put the Trash Pandas up 3-2 before ending his night with another base on balls in the ninth inning.
In the next fixture of the series on April 9 against the Barons, Whitefield was again the lead-off batter in a 3-2 win, going one for four, with a two-out single, a soft grounder to the pitcher, at the top of the third, making it to second base before the inning was over. Whitefield was walked in the seventh, and scored on a Livan Soto double.
The series against the Barons ended on April 10 with a 4-1 win where Whitefield was lead-off, beginning with a walk but going two for four, hitting two home runs; one in the fifth inning and one in the ninth inning. At the top of the third inning, he also grounded out, however, the contact allowed Ryan Aguilar to score and tie the game at one-all.
Beginning on April 12, the Rocket City Trash Pandas started its series against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and in the home opener at Toyota Field with a 4-3 loss. Whitefield went one for three, drawing a walk at the bottom of the first, scoring by first stealing second base, and advancing home on errors.
Whitefield, in the bottom of the second inning hit a two-out single into right field that scored Anthony Mulrine, stealing second base during Livan Soto's at-bat which ended with a caught fly ball. Whitefield struck out and grounded out in his final two at-bats.
The next game of the series was a 5-4 win to the Trash Pandas on April 13 with Whitefield hitting two for three, in a game that included a two-run home run. He started the game with a lead-off single to leftfield, and in the fifth, saw a ball sail over the fence in centrefield, scoring Bryce Teodosio who had hit a double earlier in the inning. He drew a walk to lead off the eighth, stealing both second and third, before scoring on a Braxton Martinez home run.
On April 14, the Trash Pandas lost 5-3, but Whitefield went two for three in the game, along with two walks. He again collected a lead-off single in the first and made his way to third, but couldn't come home. He hit a ground-rule double in the third inning, but, again, was stranded on third when the inning came to an end.
Whitefield drew a walk in the fifth inning, and stole second and third base - his seventh and eighth steals of the season - during Braxton Martinez's at-bat, before scoring a run on a Trey Cabbage double. He was again stranded in scoring position on second base at the bottom of the ninth when he got on base via an error.
On April 15, in a 6-4 win, Whitefield went one for four at the plate, hitting a two-out two-RBI single into right field that scored Victor Mesa and Livan Soto. He struck out in his other three plate appearances.
Whitefield went zero for four in a 10-8 loss on April 16, while he bounced back a day later on April 17 , helping the Trash Pandas to a 1-0 extra-innings win. Whitefield was the runner to start on second base at the bottom of the 11th inning and scored on a Preston Palmeiro single into right field.
Curtis Mead - Montgomery Biscuits
South Australian Curtis Mead has appeared in seven games for the Montgomery Biscuits, the Double A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, recording a hit in all but one game so far this season.
On April 8, the Montgomery Biscuits was away to the Mississippi Braves at Trustmate Park, but came away with a 5-1 victory, with Mead, the designated hitter, going one for three at the plate with a hit and two walks. At the top of the seventh inning, Mead hit a two-out single into left field, however, didn't advance.
In the second game of the series against the Braves on April 9, in a 5-4 win, Mead went one for three with a hit and a walk. He hit a two-out double in the sixth inning, but stayed there as the final out was recorded. To close out the series, on April 10, Mead went zero for four in an 8-2 loss.
The next series of the season for the Montgomery Biscuits was at home against the Tennessee Smokies, and it started with a 4-3 loss on April 12 at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium. Mead went one for four, hitting a single in the bottom of the sixth and advancing to third, eventually coming home on a sacrifice fly by Evan Edwards.
On April 13, in a 7-3 win, Mead went two for four, with an RBI double in the bottom of the third that scored Greg Jones, with Mead advancing to third base on an error. He hit a solo home run to right field in the fifth inning.
In a 5-2 win on April 14, Mead was the designated hitter once again, and went two for four, hitting a single at the bottom of the first inning, advancing to second on an Austin Shelton walk, and third on a Grant Witherspoon flyout. Hill Alexander walked which scored Mead for the Biscuits' first run of the game.
After a couple of groundouts, Mead then hit a double on a fly ball into right field, and almost had an RBI from the hit, however, Roberto Alverez was thrown out trying to score at home for the third out.
The final game for the week for Mead and the Biscuits was on April 16 - with the April 17 game postponed due to rain -, and in the 5-3 loss, Mead went one for four, hitting a solo shot over the fence in centre right field to tie the ballgame at one-all. He struck out twice, and grounded into a double play to end his night.
Robbie Glendinning - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
West Australian Robbie Glendinning has made six appearances for the Kansas City Royals' Double A affiliate, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals throughout the first week and a half of the season.
The infielder opened his 2022 MiLB account on April 8 in a come-from-behind 11-8 away win over the Springfield Cardinals at Hammons Field. Against the Cardinals, Glendinning went zero from four with a walk, and a fielder's choice RBI.
Gleninning also appeared in the April 9 matchup against the Cardinals where he went one from three in a 14-11 win, playing first base and being a part of many outs, and with the bat, plated three runs himself as he got on base three times, with two base on balls also. After his first two at-bats resulted in strikeouts, Glendinning had a lead-off single at the top of the sixth, coming home on a John Dave RBI, and his final two plate appearances resulted in walks, coming home each time via Dave RBIs.
In the following series at home against the Wichita Wind Surge at Arvest Ballpark, Glendinning went one from four in the 8-5 victory on April 13, hitting a two-out two-RBI triple at the bottom of the seventh, before scoring on a Logan Porter double.
On April 14, in a 7-1 loss, Glendinning went one from four, hitting a single to left field at the bottom of the seventh which scored Sebastian Rivero. On April 15, in a 4-2 loss, Glendinning was the designated hitter, though went zero from two, with two walks. On April 17, in a 5-1 loss, he returned to third base and went one from four, hitting a single towards left field.
Ulrich Bojarski - Erie SeaWolves
West Australian Ulrich Bojarksi has appeared in one game for the Detroit Tigers' Double A affiliate, the Erie SeaWolves so far this season after being transferred up from the organisation's Florida Complex League team.
In the April 16 game, playing away to the victorious 6-0 Somerset Patriots at TD Bank Ballpark, the leftfielder went zero from three, striking out three times, though got on base via a walk at the top of the seventh, however, couldn't advance.
Lewis Thorpe - St. Paul Saints
Victorian Lewis Thorpe appeared in one game for the St. Paul Saints, the Triple A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, in the team's April 16 matchup at home against the Indianapolis Indians, which ended in a 16-13 win for home team at CHS Field.
Thorpe got the start for the Saints, and pitched 1.2 innings before being replaced by reliever JC Ramirez during the bottom of the second inning.
The game began with a first-pitch groundout, however, two pitches later, the second batter up for the Indians, Cal Mitchell hit a home run to open the scoring. Thorpe was then able to get the next two batters, one via a strikeout, the other grounding out, to retire the side at the top of the first inning.
The top of the second inning began with Thorpe issuing a base on balls to the lead-off batter and a single to the next batter up, before a strikeout and a flyout had the Indians down two.
However, a two-out single scored another run for the Indians, with another walk by Thorpe loading the bases before back-to-back doubles, and a home run put the score at 8-0, and saw Thorpe's day come to an early end.
Following the week, Thorpe was released by the Minnesota Twins organisation as he now vows to look for more opportunities, elsewhere.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Liam Hendriks - Chicago White Sox
West Australian Liam Hendriks has appeared in five games for the Chicago White Sox to begin the season, however, it got off to a disastrous start on April 8 in a 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
In the White Sox's season opener, Hendriks entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, replacing Aaron Bummer with two outs. He first gave up a single to Tigers batter Miguel Cabrera that scored two runs and tied the game at three-all. Hendriks hit Jonathan Scoop with the next pitch before Akil Baddoo grounded out.
Chicago regained the lead at the top of the ninth inning, but, at the bottom, even after a strikeout, Hendriks gave up a home run to Eric Haase. Hendriks struck out another Detroit batter, but then gave up a triple to Austin Meadows, who scored on a Javier Baez single and gave the home side the win with the reliever credited with the loss.
The right-hander returned on April 12 in a 3-2 win at the side's home opener at Guaranteed Rate Field against the Seattle Mariners, coming into the game at the top of the ninth with the score 3-1. Hendriks struck out two of the first three hitters up to the plate, giving up three singles as a run scored, however, claimed a save when he struck out Mitch Haniger for the final out.
Hendriks recorded his second save in as many nights when he pitched one inning in the April 13 6-4 victory against the Mariners at home. He replaced Kendall Graveman, and the first batter he faced hit a double, who scored, however, struck out two batters as he assisted on the final groundout of the game.
The Chicago White Sox remained at home against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 15 with a 3-2 win, of which Hendriks pitched one inning and picked up another save in the process, sitting down the first three batters he saw, ending the game with a strikeout.
Hendriks was back on April 16 for another one-inning showing that finished with another save - his fourth of the year - in a 3-2 win against the Rays. He gave up a lead-off single, but found two outs within the following two batters, and while the Rays had runners on one and two, struck out Taylor Walls for the final out.
Alexander Wells - Baltimore Orioles
Australia's most recent Major League Baseball debutant, New South Welshman Alexander Wells has had just one appearance for the Baltimore Orioles this season, getting the closing duties in an April 16 5-2 loss against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park.
Wells entered the game at the top of the eighth, replacing Paul Fry, and threw two scoreless innings, giving up three hits and zero runs while delivering three strikeouts, including Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres.
However, Wells has since been optioned to the organisation's Triple A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides in place of Marcos Diplán.